Friday, March 15, 2013

An Honor From the State

Now, I’m not much for politics and all that jazz, but, I am proud of my state and I recently received an incredible honor that makes feel even more proud of this great state I live in. My image, Unexpected Surprise, was selected to be the cover photo on the Oregon Blue Book Almanac and Fact Book for 2013-14. This is a book that is published by the state every two years that contains everything you could ever want to know about Oregon, from agricultural statistics, to economic, demographic and human interest information. It is an incredible resource that is used by anyone in the state or around the world looking to to gather information about our State.

We were invited to the State Capital in Salem for the launch of the book and several recognition ceremonies. The day started with us arriving at the Secretary of States office to meet her (Kate Brown) and meet the staff that would shepherd us through the day. We were then assigned a person who escorted us through the halls of the capital building, over to the Representatives side of the building. There I met my local Represenative, Jeff Barker, and had a nice 15 minute discussion with him. I learned he lives just ½ mile from where I live and commutes to Salem to work in the House. We were then escorted over to the Senate side of the building where I met my local State Senator, Mark Hass, and had a nice conversation with him as well.

We were then ushered back to the Secretarys office for the recognition ceremony. Everyone involved with the Blue Book were present along with several politicians. Kate Brown gave a wonderful presentation about the history of the Blue Book (published continually since 1911), gave a very nice bio about me and the back cover photographer and gave many thanks to people who did a tremendous job pulling the book together. I was then presented a framed cover of the book and had the obligatory photo op with the Secretary. After that lots of congratulations and a couple of autographs for some attendees.

We were then taken to the House of Representatives chamber where we had seats along the side of the chamber. Once the session of the house came to order, one of the first pieces of business was that my Representative stood up to introduce the blue book and then gave a 5 minute introduction to me and my work. I received lots of appreciation from the room and a few reps even made an effort to come over and congratulate me and ask about the image.

We then had to quickly leave there and make our way over to the Senate chambers. There a page took me out on to the floor of the senate to the desk of Senator Haas. I was on the floor for the opening of the Senate session!!! The Senate President gave a long introduction of the book and myself and then my Senator stood to give further embellishment of my introduction. It was an amazing experience. Honestly, I was in such a whirlwind at this point….it was almost overwhelming being there. I sat with Sen Hass for a few more minutes on the floor and chatted about my work at Nike, his work for the state and a private firm and other topics I can’t remember at this point 

I then had to excuse myself and make my way quickly to the capital rotunda for a book signing event. The Secretary and myself were seated at a table and signing books for people who had purchased them. That was surreal!!! Sitting with her and autographing books….OMG. Just incredible. We did that for an hour until she had to run off to attend another event.

From there we were brought back to the Secretarys office for more book signing. Brought into her huge office again there was a pile of books, maybe 150, that I needed to sign. The staff there was so wonderful and accommodating, they even went and got us lunch. At one point we were left alone in her office and when that happened, I paused in my work and just sat there and reflected on where I was and what I was doing. OMG!!! It was an amazing feeling. At one point the Secretary came back in and was working away at her desk while we were sitting at the conference table doing my work. Another surreal experience.

Some of the piles of books were for “generic” use to be determined later, but some of them were for specifically named people. I was able to give personal messages and autographs to the Governor, Treasurer, Senate President and the other top leaders of our state. And, even some rarified past leaders like Barbara Roberts. Eventually I made my way through the piles of books, my hand was sore, but my smile was still huge!

We said our goodbyes to everyone and before we left, we took a moment to stroll around the capital and soak in the sights and reflect on the morning. As I said, I’m not a fan of politics, but I do respect and honor the institution that has built and governs our great state. To have my image on the cover of one of the most popular government publications, one that will go into the state archives for all of time…..was an honor of a lifetime that I will always remember.

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